All.-Conf. Class of 2010 Rankings: Feb. 1

At the end of November, the Card were No. 21 nationally and No. 4 in the Pac-10. This month, Stanford is holding steady at No. 4 in the league and No. 18 overall currently, but down to No. 6 in the league and the bottom of the Top 25 with any further attrition. (Not to mention No. 12 nationally and atop the league with Louis Young still in the fold.) Read on…

Based upon research which shows that 34 percent of five-star, 20 percent of four-star, 12 percent of three-star and 7 percent of two-star recruits to BCS schools make First or Second-Team All-Conference at some point during their college careers, The Bootleg is proud to present its All-Conference-based (ACB) recruiting rankings. In keeping with the above probabilities, each school receives seven points per two-star, 12 points per three-star, 20 points per four-star and 34 per five-star recruit. Dividing a school's total score by 100 predicts the number of players in the class who will make First or Second-Team All-Conference at some point during their playing careers -- and provides a handy way of ranking recruiting classes. Do the recruiting services underrate your school? Read on!

We'll release ACB rankings monthly throughout the fall, allowing us diehards to track Stanford's recruiting class nationally and in the Pac-10, based upon how many difference makers are likely to emerge from the class. Obviously, some caveats apply: players can under or overperform their ranking; Scout's rankings, our source today, may have slightly different results than Rivals', the source of the original research. To not artificially reward a school which signs 33 players, only to run off eight before training camp, only a school's top 25 recruits count toward its team ranking.

With no further ado then, here is a look at the 2010 recruiting classes. Teams are listed as follows:

ACB Rank. School ('s rank) Score, Change from Last Rankings (Dec. 1)
1. Ohio State (1) 478, +2

At the end of November, the Card were No. 21 nationally and No. 4 in the Pac-10 after discounting schools who'd signed under 12 for 2010. This month, Stanford is No. 4 in the league and No. 18 overall currently, but down to No. 6 in the league and the bottom of the Top 25 with any further attrition. Read on…

2010 Projected National ACB Class Rankings
1. Texas (2) 531, +2
2. Florida (1) 517, +3
3. Alabama (4) 448, +3
4. Oklahoma (3) 427, +5
5. Penn State (6) 392, -2
6. Auburn (5) 374, +10
7. LSU (7) 370, +4
8. Michigan (9) 361, +7
9. Texas A&M (13) 346, +5
10. Tennessee (16) 342, -2
11. Pittsburgh (12) 340, +6
12. Stanford (14) 334, +9
13. Georgia (8) 327, -9
14. UCLA (20) 326, -2
15. Florida State (20) 324, NR
16. USC (19) 321, -14
17. BYU (21) 320, NR
18. Oregon (22) 318, +1
19. Ohio State (17) 310, -12
20. Oklahoma State (10) 306
21. Washington (8) 305, +1
22. Arizona State (23) 304, NR
23. Miami (10) 296
24. Missouri (25) 294, NR
25. Mississippi (26) 282, NR

Notre Dame and Michigan State take big nosedives out of the polls (Notre Dame from No. 7!), while USC, Ohio State and Georgia also fall mightily. Crocodile tears, folks. Big gainers include Auburn, Florida State, BYU, Michigan – and Stanford? Stanford? Really?

Well, unfortunately, it's not that simple. The latest Scout rankings, the source for this data, have Stanford hanging onto Louis Young, which will not be the case. Thus, Stanford will be docked 20 points for the four-star Young, and their resulting 314 points will place them No. 18 nationally and No. 4 in the Pac-10, instead of No. 12 nationally and atop the conference. Similarly, Jarrod West has yet to publicly disclose admission to Stanford just two days away from National Signing Day, and Jordan Zumwalt has announced that he will decide between Stanford, UCLA and USC on Wednesday, so the Card could very well lose two additional commits. Losing just the four-star Zumwalt leaves Stanford with 294 points, sixth in the league and No. 24 nationally. Losing just the three-star West costs the Card 12 points, leaving them with 302, a No. 22 national rank and, again, No. 6 in the league. Losing both recruits would drop Stanford to 282 points, No. 6 in the league and No. 25 nationally.

These hypotheticals give us a pretty good idea of how closely clustered recruiting classes are in the bottom half of the Top 25. Losing one four-star player takes Stanford from first to fourth in the league and 12th to 18th overall. Losing one more player would put Stanford at sixth – in the bottom half of the league! – and just barely in the Top 25 at all. Amazing how two players can turn the class of the Pac-10 into one of the bottom classes of the Pac-10, and a fringe Top-10 class to a fringe Top-25 class.

Note also that Stanford is probably closer to having a full class than most other schools, so expect some schools close on the Card's heels to pass Stanford in the next two days with last-minute signings. Additionally, these rankings only count a school's top-25 signees, while Scout and Rivals count as many players as a school can sign, so look for egregious oversigners (Washington, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Auburn all have at least 28 in the class already) to rank better elsewhere. We'll go ahead, therefore, split the difference in our hypotheticals and predict Stanford finishes No. 20 nationally and No. 5 in the league according to Scout. (The Card will fare better per other recruiting rankings, but stay tuned for more on that…)

Here are the Pac-10 rankings, docking Stanford the 20 points they will lose for Louis Young's decommitment.

Pac-10 Projected 2010 ACB Ratings
1. UCLA (13)326
2. USC (15) 321
3. Oregon (17) 318
4. Stanford (18) 314
5. Washington (21) 305
6. Arizona State (22) 304
7. Washington State (36) 252
8. California (45) 223
9. Arizona (47) 215
10. Oregon State 143

I'd expect USC to come out on top when it's all said and done, though the Trojans have dropped like a rock since losing Pete Carroll. They were our No. 2 team in the nation last update! Washington State is a pleasant surprise and Oregon State a disappointment, but Cal's struggles might be the pleasantest surprise of all.

In terms of All-Conference caliber talent, UCLA, USC, Oregon, Stanford, Washington and Arizona State are all neck-and-neck on the lead lap – all of two-tenths of an All-Conference player separates first from sixth. Meanwhile, Washington State, Cal and Arizona fall further behind and Oregon State is way in the rearview mirror.

Worse comes to worse then, Stanford is signing a class consistent with the top-half of the league in terms of top-end talent. Not exactly what Stanford fans were hoping for nine months ago, but this infusion of talent should mean more on Stanford's thinner roster than their opponents', and if Jim Harbaugh's superior coaching continues, he'll be close enough to the rest of the league in terms of talent to regularly win Pac-10 championships in a year or two. Plus, of course, while this Stanford class may not overwhelm with potential All-Conference caliber difference makers and thus score highly in these rankings, the Cardinal may end up with more quality depth from this class than many of their peers. (Consider that Stanford has signed 15 three-star recruits to USC's two this cycle, for example.) A lack of quality depth, not difference makers, has been the missing link in Stanford football's chain for the past decade, so if the present trend holds, this class could end up making all the difference for the Card.

Put another way, this class might not bring Trent Edwards, but it could bring a lot of the guys who could have blocked for Trent Edwards or kept him and the offense in games. Seeing as Stanford is deeper nowhere than quarterback and running back, the two glamour positions, a class of quality depth is a wonderful compliment to the 2009 class, the start of the 2011 class and, most importantly, what the Card already have on the field.

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